North Hempstead enters agreement to conduct study on additional Port Washington LIRR track

North Hempstead enters agreement to conduct study on additional Port Washington LIRR track
A Long Island Rail Road train pulls into the Great Neck station. (Photo by Adam Lidgett)

The Town of North Hempstead entered into an agreement with the Long Island Rail Road Tuesday night to consider building an additional track at the Port Washington Train Station to improve train service reliability and frequency.

North Hempstead Supervisor Jennifer DeSena said that under the memorandum of understanding, the Long Island Rail Road would study adding a track to increase service along the Port Washington Branch. She called this memorandum a first step.

“The whole point of what we’re doing is restoring service, bring something back,” DeSena said.

The memorandum will also include a study of the parking lot.

Town Councilmember Mariann Dalimonte said the town attorney informed the board that the memorandum of understanding is not a binding contract but rather an interest in negotiating future agreements for the project.

One resident asked if the memorandum would represent the Long Island Rail Road’s commitment to expanding service along the line, citing examples of alleged failed promises from them in the past.

Dalimonte said she and the supervisor had expressed those concerns to the Metropolitan Transit Authority, which oversees the Long Island Rail Road. She said they asked them to ensure that services would be expanded, but they said they could not guarantee it.

The board voted unanimously to enter into the memorandum of understanding. Councilmember Christine Liu was not present at the meeting because she had surgery earlier in the day.

DeSena said she has fought to restore express service after it was reduced when trains began running to Grand Central Madison in February 2023.

The supervisor recalled a conversation with the Long Island Rail Road president, who explained that warnings for diminished services were given 10 years ago when the LIRR considered work that did not go forward.

“And so here we are,” DeSena said.

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